New School, New Town, Same Old Me
Yesterday morning I dropped Rachel off at a new school. Again.
I find it ironic that my child with high anxiety, autism, and apraxia—and the host of communication problems that come along with those needs—has switched schools several times in the past few years. Last year she started kindergarten in a public school. Leaving her there was hard. This year was harder. Doubts swirled in my mind. Did we do the right thing by moving? Will my girls be okay?
We’ve now moved to a new city. Yes, the move will be good for both girls, and Rachel’s new school seems more suited to her needs, but leaving her there this morning was like ripping off one of my arms. (And Rachel tried to keep it there with her…) She grasped me hard and held on with iron fingers. After dragging me into the potty with her, she pulled me toward a chair. Then the teacher took her hand and told me I could go.
Rachel disagreed. Loudly.
My heart swelled and pounded. A rock formed in my throat. I couldn’t leave her. That teacher was a stranger! Yes, she has worked in the school for years, but she was a stranger to Rachel and I. Leaving my baby there with her went against all my mothering instincts. I wanted to grab Rachel and run. I might have, except hubby was there with me. Before I could do anything crazy, he pulled me out the door. Rachel wailed. I burst into tears.
Hubby didn’t let go of my hand until we got into the car. At the time, I thought he was trying to comfort me. Perhaps he felt the need to restrain me…
Raising children is the hardest job I’ve ever encountered. It seems strange to ignore my instinct to protect my daughter by leaving her at school with strangers. Yet, when I should be patient and loving, I am a grouch. Plus, I never seem to get things in the right order. When we go nowhere, I get her hair and teeth brushed. The first day of school, I forget to brush her teeth, can’t find the right hair brush, and her dress is two inches shorter on her than it was last week. I got pictures of eldest, but didn’t think about it for Rachel until I was weeping in the car.
BUT… If I were talking to me right now, I would tell myself to give me a break. So, I will tell you the same. Parent, give yourself a break. You are not perfect. Perhaps you didn’t accomplish your summer to-do list. Maybe you didn’t get those 10,000 pictures scrapbooked as you had planned. Maybe you worked more over the summer than you liked. Maybe you accidentally dyed your child’s white first-day-of-school shirt a lovely mélange of orange and pink. Take a breath. Do your best. Start new each day. Hug your kids. Brush their teeth tomorrow… And good luck with the beginning of school. It will probably be summer again before we know it.